And she would talk of Egypt. She and her husband had visited Cairo once upon a time, so she felt herself as familiar with the whole Nile basin as with the goldfish tank in the hotel lounge. To Galusha Egypt was an enchanted land, a sort of paradise to which fortunate explorers might eventually be permitted to go if they were very, very good. To have this sacrilegious female patting the Sphinx on the head was more than he could stand.
So he determined to stand it no longer; he ran away. One evening Mrs. Buckley informed him that she and a little group—“a really select group, Professor Bangs”—of the hotel inmates were to picnic somewhere or other the following day. “And you are to come with us, Doctor, and tell us about those wonderful temples you and I were discussing yesterday. I have told the others something of what you told me and they are quite wild to hear you.”
Galusha was quite wild also. He went to his room and, pawing amid the chaos of his bureau drawer for a clean collar, chanced upon the postcard from Mrs. Hall. The postcard reminded him of the advertisement of the Restabit Inn, which was in his pocketbook. Then the idea came to him. He would go to the Hall cottage and make a visit of a day or two. If he liked the Cape and Wellmouth he would take lodgings at the Restabit Inn and stay as long as he wished. The suspicion that the inn might be closed did not occur to him. The season was at its height in the mountains, and Atlantic City, so they had told him there, ran at full blast all the year. So much he knew, and the rest he did not think about.
He spent most of that night packing his trunk and his suitcase. He left word for the former to be sent to him by express and the latter he took with him. He tiptoed downstairs, ate a hasty breakfast, and took the earliest train for Boston, The following afternoon he started upon his Cape Cod pilgrimage, a pilgrimage which was to end in a fainting fit upon the sofa in Miss Martha Phipps’ sitting room.
The fainting fit did not last long. When Galusha again became interested in the affairs of this world it was to become aware that a glass containing something not unpleasantly fragrant was held directly beneath his nose and that some one was commanding him to drink.
So he drank, and the fragrant liquid in the tumbler descended to his stomach and thence, apparently, to his fingers and toes; at all events those chilled members began to tingle agreeably. Mr. Bangs attempted to sit up.
“No, no, you stay right where you are,” said the voice, the same voice which had urged him to drink.
“But really I—I am quite well now. And your sofa—”
“Never mind the sofa. You aren’t the first soakin’ wet mortal that has been on it. No, you mind me and stay still. . . . Primmie!”
“Yes’m. Here I be.”